Master's Dissertation Survey
Each year, final-year students are given the chance to give feedback on their study programme by means of the Study Programme Feedback. Since 2020, the Study Programme Feedback question set contains a separate section on the Master’s dissertation: all final-year students in a Master’s programme are asked to give feedback specifically on a number of dissertation-related topics such as content, process, organisation, supervision and assessment.
What is the Master’s Dissertation Survey?
The Master’s Dissertation Survey is a structured and generic question set consisting of 13 items. All students about to obtain their Master’s or Master-after-Master’s degree are surveyed about their study programme in its entirety, and also about their Master’s dissertation. In other words, the students (i.e. the respondents) receive a fully integrated survey containing questions on their study programme and questions on the Master’s dissertation. The survey takes place in the final year of the study programme, at the end of the second term. The question set consists of 13 items organized into the following topics or sections:
- learning effect;
- organisation and structure;
- assessment and feedback;
The Master’s Dissertation as Part of the Study Programme Feedback
In the final months of 2019, the Education Council took the conscious decision to integrate a separate section on the Master’s dissertation into the Study Programme Feedback. Students have of course been surveyed about the Master’s dissertation process prior to 2019. This mostly happened on an ad hoc basis, or as part of the Course Feedback (formerly known as Course Assessments) by Students, and not necessarily by means of a generic question set.
From a quality assurance point of view, it is of paramount importance to regularly survey Master’s students about the (quality of) the Master’s dissertation process and supervision. For an optimal integration into the education monitors based on aggregated data (at the level of each main subject, study programme and the university), such a survey is preferably organized by the university’s central administration, using a standard question set. This method dovetails best with the education policy and quality monitoring within study programmes.
Master’s Dissertation Survey: Proceedings
How, When and by Whom?
The Quality Assurance Office (part of DOWA) coordinates the Study Programme Feedback proceedings. All students who are about to obtain their degree and/or are about to graduate are invited to participate in the survey. The survey is held from the end of May to the end of September, and is open to all final-year students in a Master’s or Master-after-Master’s programme.
Processing and Using the Results?
The results of the Master’s Dissertation Survey are incorporated into the Ghent University Business Intelligence System, UGI for Education Policy. Although the survey itself has been integrated into that of the Study Programme Feedback, UGI makes them available in a separate section and per topic. UGI makes available all the results per item down to the level of the main subject (in Dutch: afstudeerrichting). The reports also include reference frameworks containing aggregated results, in graphs or tables, for all –Master’s programmes within a faculty or the entire university. The reference frameworks can be used by study programmes and/or main subjects to position themselves against or compare themselves with other study programmes.
As is the case for the Study Programme Feedback results and other central monitoring tools, the results of the Master’s Dissertation Survey are an important factor of quality assurance on the three policy levels: the university level, the faculty level, and the level of the individual study programme or main subject. After each release of UGI reports (each year, in the fall), the Education Council discusses the university-wide results. Faculties and study programmes are invited to discuss their own results and use them for monitoring their education policy and quality assurance. This process is facilitated by the fact that UGI reports are integrated directly into the faculties’ and study programmes’ education monitors.
Want to Know More?
More information about the faculties’ and study programmes’ Education Monitor can be found here.
Information in figures/reports about education at Ghent University, including the study programme feedback results, can be found on UGI for Education Policy.